Facebook knew collecting call records and text message history was sensitive, but did it anyway, according to leaked emails.
The Verge reported on December 5th, 2018 that internal Facebook emails released by the United Kingdom Parliament show the decision to collect call records was made internally and that developers, despite knowing it was sensitive, went ahead with the plan.
Mark Tonkelwitz, a Facebook employee, said in the email: “This is a pretty high-risk thing to do from a PR perspective but it appears that the growth team will charge ahead and do it.”
Facebook collected data in March from Android phone users to find ways to improve Facebook’s algorithms and find new contacts for users to find in the “People You May Know” category.
When news of this was released to the public, Facebook said it did not collect any call logs without permission and that those who participated knew and opted in.
However, The Verge reports that according to the emails Facebook developers tried finding ways to manipulate Android’s data permissions so that it could automatically enrol users.
“Also, the Growth team is now exploring a path where we only request Read Call Log permission, and hold off on requesting any other permissions for now. Based on their initial testing, it seems that this would allow us to upgrade users without subjecting them to an Android permissions dialogue at all,” Yul Kwon, a Facebook developer, wrote. “It would be a breaking change, so users will have to click to upgrade, but no permissions dialog screen.”
Source: The Verge